The great medieval universities had no administrators, yet they endured for centuries. Our university has a huge admi...

on June 12, 2019


What is the primary Flaw in this question? I see that it is that because something was not needed in the past, it is not needed in the future (which seems to be the crux of this argument). Is that tru?

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Billy on March 13, 2020

I also have a similar question. What is the difference between answer A and B?

Mazen on October 15, 2022

I am not a tutor, but I think I got this as it is a recurring theme by the LSAT writers: the flaw is mistaking a correlation for a causation.

So, according to the stimulus great medieval universities did not have administrators and they endured for centuries; on the other hand, the more recent universities have administrators but are struggling financially. Okay, so what is going on here? The arguer contends that the absence of administrators in the medieval universities led to their long term endurance (for centuries); and that this contrast as manifested in the presence of the administrators with the current universities is the cause for their financial struggles.

Simply put: absent administrators, absent trouble; existence of administrators; existence of trouble; so, let's get rid of administrators to get rid of the financial troubles. As you can see the causality is tenuous; for one thing, we do not know how similar the ancient universities are to the current ones. Are they similar in all of the pertinent respects except for this one, i.e. the administrators? The arguer never answer this question establishing the similarities in every aspect in order to zoom in on and isolate the one difference that could then be the cause of the trouble.

By the way, even if the arguer had established that the overwhelming similarities between the two timely distant universities, causality would've been more likely or less tenuous, but still vulnerable. After all the administrators could be present in other universities that are overwhelmingly similar to these universities and yet are doing well!

Anyhow, this was my reasoning on this stimulus: mistaking correlation for causation. I hope that it was helpful.

If I am wrong, more importantly, I hope one of the experts will help us before the November LSAT!


Emil on October 24, 2022

Hi, just wanted to chime in that I completely agree about the flaw. The issue is that there is pretty much no way to prove what caused the long term health of medieval universities or the financial problems of this one, and that simply pointing out one factor that was absent in one case and present in another is a pretty pathetic attempt to show causality. As to the difference between A and B, B makes a recommendation, much like the argument does, while a only describes but does not make any recommendations.